Thursday, 9 January 2014

Another way to get outside

We took a few days to get away during the holidays.  We chose to go to a place that had a small downhill ski hill, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails.  Some of us (Chris, Nicholas and Jaelyn) are very excited to experience flying down a hill on two pieces of fiberglass and others would prefer level ground (me and my sidekick Astrin).

To prepare for our trip, I rented a pair of cross country skis.  And eventually I had some time to go out and try them.  Not having skied since grade school, and only having a fuzzy recollection of the sport as seen during the Olympics, off I went into the wilderness on trails that hadn't been groomed for awhile.  Keep in mind that Olympians don't fall that often, so I didn't have anything in my mental toolbox for how to right myself once I found myself lying on my back staring at the blue sky above me.  It should be intuitive, but it wasn't.

So in love I fell with it that I ventured to ask the kids if they would like to try it to.  I was met with eager responses.  Before we knew it, I'd planned a few outings where we could give cross-country a pretty good workout.  We watched a couple of videos to give the kids some tips on the to-do's and not-to-do's.  I found one video that explained and demonstrated how to get up once you fall down (and here's one that showed what I did).  We were prepared.  We had gear.  It was time to head off to the trails.

We are so lucky to have groomed trails a mere block from our house, which was where we headed for our first excursion.  Unfortunately, the trails were blown.  Fortunately, a class was out learning how to ski and had made some paths for us to follow.  Also fortunately, my kids were willing to blaze their own trails.  We spend a little more than an hour getting used to the skis, the terrain, and just having fun out at the park.  I think the only one who was not happy was Astrin, who I was pulling behind me in our Chariot (we have a nifty ski attachment that makes it easy to pull her).  And I can imagine her frustration - it would be pretty boring to watch everyone else having all the fun.

The kids picked it up extremely quickly - so quickly, I have no pictures to share.  They were up from a fall amazingly fast and showed none of the beached whale maneuvers I displayed out in the woods.  And they moved incredibly fast too.  They were so thrilled with their first experience that we tried an evening ski too, which was great.

We only have the skis for another couple of days, so I hope to take them to some trails out-of-town tomorrow and perhaps another park in-town on the weekend.  Then I hope to see whether their enthusiasm has waned a bit or whether owning a set of our own is an option for us.

Whatever the future holds for us in terms of being owners, renters, borrowers, or something else, I'm glad we tried out something different together.  It's one more thing we can do to avoid the stir-craziness of a long winter.

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